JUL 16, 2019 6:11 AM PDT

Can Scientists Create a Blood Test to Screen for Alzheimer's Risk?

WRITTEN BY: Tiffany Dazet

Currently, to gauge the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, patients must undergo brain scans, spinal fluid tests, or mental assessments; all of which can be cost-prohibitive, invasive, or impractical for particular patients. For years, the “holy grail” of Alzheimer’s risk screening has been a blood test. As demonstrated by research groups at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference this week, scientists are reportedly getting closer to attaining this goal. 

The Association’s chief science officer, Maria Carrillo, told Associated Press reporters, “we need something quicker and dirtier. It doesn’t have to be perfect.” Of the six research groups that presented their results on experimental tests so far, one group reported theirs to be 88% accurate in indicating Alzheimer’s risk. More specifically, it correctly identified 92% of people who had Alzheimer’s and ruled out 85% who did not. According to Dr. Akinori Nakamura from the National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology, these results match the accuracy of three types of brain scans and a mental assessment currently in use.

Dr. Richard Hodes, director of the National Institute on Aging, told AP reporters that the blood tests would be used to choose and monitor patients for federally funded studies; it will take more time to establish the blood tests’ value in routine medical care. The AP article states that doctors suspect that some studies may have enrolled patients with different problems or with too much brain damage from the disease already. A quick and accurate blood test could accelerate and ensure the correct placement of patients in these studies.

Dr. Randall Bateman of Washington University’s School of Medicine told AP reporters that a screening test could be available in just three years. He stated, “everyone’s finding the same thing…the results are remarkably similar across countries, across techniques.” The results of his research on a blood test that he helped develop will be presented later in the conference. 

Source: Associated Press
 

About the Author
  • Tiffany grew up in Southern California, where she attended San Diego State University. She graduated with a degree in Biology with a marine emphasis, thanks to her love of the ocean and wildlife. With 13 years of science writing under her belt, she now works as a freelance writer in the Pacific Northwest.
You May Also Like
JAN 27, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
JAN 27, 2020
An Antioxidant Found in Green Tea Can Fight Tuberculosis
In 2018, around ten million people around the globe were sickened by tuberculosis (TB) and about 1.5 million people were killed by tuberculosis....
JAN 27, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
JAN 27, 2020
Saliva Test for Early Detection of Mouth and Throat Cancer
“OPC is one of the fastest rising cancers in Western countries due to increasing HPV-related incidence, especially in younger patients. It is paramou...
JAN 27, 2020
Neuroscience
JAN 27, 2020
Mentally Stimulating Activities Prevent Old Age Cognitive Decline
Engaging in two or more mentally stimulating activities- including reading books, using a computer and engaging in social activities- has been linked to a ...
JAN 27, 2020
Neuroscience
JAN 27, 2020
Memory Recall Linked to Circadian Rhythm
  A study from the University of Tokyo identified a specific gene responsible for memory retrieval in mice. The study aimed to investigate the biology...
JAN 27, 2020
Microbiology
JAN 27, 2020
Twins Still Have Microbial Strains in Common After Living Apart for Years
Twins can offer researchers an opportunity to study health and biology in people with the same genes, raised in the same environment....
JAN 27, 2020
Cardiology
JAN 27, 2020
Burnout May Cause Heart Problems
At least 2.7 million Americans are affected by the most common variety of irregular heartbeat, known as atrial fibrillation (AFib). Now, new research has f...
Loading Comments...